Last year I decided it was high time I incorporated B’Nai Mitzvah photography into my repertoire. After over twenty years of weddings, and with my daughter and her friends only a few years away from their Bat Mitzvahs, I thought I better get some practice! As luck would have it, three wonderful Annapolis families took the plunge and hired me, a Mitzvah photographer with absolutely no experience. I am so grateful to them for trusting me to tell their childrens’ stories and to document this amazing time in their lives.
To say that this experience moved me is such an understatement. It changed me. I was Bat Mitzvahed, but learning Hebrew and studying my Torah portion was really no big deal. When we weren’t studying, we had a handful of channels on TV to watch or we were outside playing kick the can. Kids today have an infinite amount of distractions, as well as after school schedules stuffed with extracurricular activities, yet they have enough self discipline to manage this, too. They know that when their day comes, they are on their own up there in front of their friends, family and the entire congregation. They have to know this thing BY HEART to totally rock it!
What really struck me about all of this are the paradoxes. Here are these kids with their books on e-readers, surfing the net, texting, skyping, and reading Hebrew from an ancient scroll all in the same day. And when you look at the collection of images of each kid, they go from goofy to mature ~ it almost doesn’t look like the same person. But this is the essence of the thirteen year old! Fluctuating daily between a boy and a man, a girl and a woman ~ awkward yet graceful all at once. I remember that time in my life so well. It’s so hard to believe I am now the parent of a tween!
Working with these families, I really FELT it. I felt what the kids were feeling, and what the parents were feeling.
We give them roots, we give them wings, a ton of nudging, and we hope for the best.A million thanks to Cynthia Lawson, Alison Harbaugh & Arianne Teeple ~ the most amazing assistants ever!